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Justice Speeches

Introduction to the Revised Public Health Bench Book and Pandemic Exercise
Retired Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor
October 28, 2019

(Remarks prepared for delivery on Oct. 28, 2019, at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.)

Thank you for that introduction, Milt.

I'm happy all of you made the trip here to the Columbus for this important conference.

It's nice to see such an eclectic group of judges, court administrators, law enforcement, and public health officials here in this room.

Anytime we have so many voices that can come together makes us stronger in our preparedness for what could be a public health crisis.

It's also key to get voices from all over the state.

I see we have leaders from the Cleveland and Cincinnati areas, and we also have leaders from Licking County and Gallipolis.

A public health crisis can happen anywhere.

Not just in a big city, but a small town and it's nice to see so many faces from all across the board to address this.

I'm sure you remember in 2014, Akron made national headlines when a nurse who cared for a deceased Ebola patient in Dallas, flew into the Cleveland area and visiting a family in the Akron area.

A day after returning to Texas, she was diagnosed with Ebola.

The situation left city and county leaders in a panic.

As I sat on the Conference of Chief Justices, I had the privilege of sitting on a task force to map out how we, as leaders, should prepare if there is a pandemic.

Tragedies such as 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina provided us with lessons on the need to prepare for emergencies, and, as a result, guidance from court leadership followed.

We created a national bench book, and I felt that we needed to create one on a state level, as well.

This is what brings us here today.

There is no better way to prepare for a public health crisis than collaboration.

Today is an opportunity to roll up your sleeves and talk with the difference voices at your table.

I hope you walk away from this experience with a playbook, a battle plan that you can go home and share with your colleagues.

Again, thanks for making the trip.

God Bless.

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